The F.VII was designed as a single-engined transport aircraft by Walter Rethel. Five examples of this model were built for the Dutch airline KLM. One of these aircraft, registered H-NACC, was used in 1924 for the first flight from the Netherlands to the Dutch East Indies. In 1925, while living in the US, Anthony Fokker heard of the inaugural Ford Reliability Tour, which was proposed as a competition for transport aircraft. Fokker had the company’s head designer, Reinhold Platz, convert a single-engined F.VIIa airliner to a trimotor configuration, powered by 200 hp Wright Whirlwind radial engines. The resulting aircraft was designated the Fokker F.VIIa/3m. Following shipment to the US, it won the Ford Reliability Tour in late 1925. The Trimotor’s structure consisted of a fabric-covered steel-tube fuselage and a plywood-skinned wooden wing.
The Fokker F.VIIb/3m had a slightly increased wing area over the F.VIIa/3m, with power increased to 220 hp per engine, while the F.10 was slightly enlarged, carrying 12 passengers in an enclosed cabin. The aircraft became popularly known as the Fokker Trimotor.
The eight- to 12-passenger Fokker was the aircraft of choice for many early airlines, both in Europe and the Americas, and it dominated the American market in the late 1920s. However, the popularity of the Fokker quickly waned after the 1931 crash of a Transcontinental & Western Air Fokker F.10, which resulted in the death of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. The investigation revealed problems with the Fokker’s plywood–laminate construction, resulting in a temporary ban from commercial flights, more stringent maintenance requirements, and a shift to all-metal aircraft such as the similar Ford Trimotor and later Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2.
Role Passenger & military transport
First flight 24 November 1924
SABENA / KLM
Polish Air Force
Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
Developed from Fokker F.V
Variants Fokker F.10
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The arrival in early 1916 of the French Nieuport 11 and the British Airco DH.2 pusher aircraft brought the dominance of the Eindecker to an end, and with it, the "Fokker Scourge". Wintgens flew the E.IV version of the Eindecker long enough to have been confronted by the much more advanced SPAD S.VII fighter of French flying ace Alfred Heurteaux on 25 September 1916, which resulted in Heurteaux fatally bringing down Wintgens, as Huerteaux's victory number eight.
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